Professor David Gally

The Roslin Institute

Research Interests

The main research focus of my group is the pathogenesis of Escherichia coli, in particular zoonoses caused by enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC).  We study the colonization of cattle by EHEC strains and aim to understand the genetic factors that lead to infections in humans.  Specifically, our recent work is making use of whole genome sequencing to define the subset of animal strains that are a threat to human health.  By analyzing the accessory genome content of both human and cattle strains we are able to predict the strains more likely to cause serious human disease.  This work can then be combined with our other main research area, the development of vaccines to prevent EHEC excretion from cattle.  Our vaccine research has been built on our studies of surface organelle expression in Escherichia coli, in particular of flagella and type III secretion systems.   As we are now able to predict which farms carry strain with a high zoonotic threat then targeted interventions are possible. Our ongoing work is aiming to licence the vaccine.  We are also developing flagellin-based fusions for stimulation of mucosal immunity.  The vaccine and adjuvant work is in partnership with Dr Tom McNeilly as the Moredun Research Institute.  Our main research funding at the moment is a two million pound EHEC research programme from Food Standards Scotland and the Food Standards Agency that is studying the epidemiology and molecular biology of EHEC strains across the UK in partnership with researchers at: the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh; the Scottish E. coli Reference Laboratory (SERL); the Moredun Research Institute (MRI); Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC); Public Health Scotland; Public Health England; USDA and University of Brisbane.

At a fundamental level we study how key factors such as Shiga toxins are expressed during infection and how bacteriophage variation and integration into the E. coli genome impact on isolate virulence and their capacity to colonise and be excreted from animal hosts.  This includes control by small RNA molecules expressed from integrated prophages.   We also have three projects focused on antimicrobial resistance in E. coli.  Two of these are using sequencing and bioinformatic approaches to examine the genetic context of resistance genes, especially on plasmids and how acquisition of these leads to other changes in the bacterial cell.  A recently awarded NERC project aims to quantify how antibiotic use on a commercial pig farm alters the copy number of specific resistance genes in animals and the local environment, where the concept is to consider the resistance genes as pollutants that need to be monitored and controlled.

The group therefore uses a wide-range of techniques with expertise in genetic manipulation and we encourage applications from individuals interested in PhD or MSc positions. 

Selected Publications

  • Geoffrey Mainda, Nadejda Lupolova, Linda Sikakwa, Paul R Bessell, John B Muma, Deborah V Hoyle, Sean P McAteer, Kirsty Gibbs, Nicola J Williams, Samuel K Sheppard, Roberto M La Ragione, Guido Cordoni, Sally A Argyle, Sam Wagner, Margo E Chase-Topping, Timothy J Dallman, Mark P Stevens, Mark Bronsvoort, David L Gally. 2016. Phylogenomic approaches to determine the zoonotic potential of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) isolated from Zambian dairy cattle. Scientific Reports Vol: 6. More»
  • Romina Fernandez-brando, Nao Yamaguchi, Amin Tahoun, Sean P. Mcateer, Trudi Gillespie, Dai Wang, Sally A. Argyle, Marina S. Palermo, David L. Gally. 2016. Type III Secretion-Dependent Sensitivity of Escherichia coli O157 to Specific Ketolides. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy Vol: 60 Pages: 459–470. More»
  • Anne Holmes, Claire Jenkins, Mary Hanson, Mark Woolhouse, John Wain, Lesley Allison, Margo Chase-topping, David Gally, George Gunn, Richard Ellis, Kathie Grant, Liljana Petrovska, Neil Perry, Lisa Byrne, Philip Ashton, Tim Dallman. 2015. Applying phylogenomics to understand the emergence of Shiga Toxin producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 strains causing severe human disease in the United Kingdom.. Microbial Genomics. More»
  • Amin Tahoun, Kirsty Jensen, Yolanda Corripio-Miyar, Sean P. McAteer, Alexander Corbishley, Arvind Mahajan, Helen Brown, David Frew, Aude Aumeunier, David G E Smith, Tom N. McNeilly, Elizabeth J. Glass, David L. Gally. 2015. Functional analysis of bovine TLR5 and association with IgA responses of cattle following systemic immunisation with H7 flagella. Veterinary Research Vol: 46. More»
  • Yannick Rossez, Eliza B. Wolfson, Ashleigh Holmes, David L. Gally, Nicola J. Holden. 2015. Bacterial Flagella: Twist and Stick, or Dodge across the Kingdoms. Plos pathogens Vol: 11 Pages: e1004483. More»
  • Jai J Tree, Sander Granneman, Sean P McAteer, David Tollervey, David L Gally. 2014. Identification of Bacteriophage-Encoded Anti-sRNAs in Pathogenic Escherichia coli. Molecular Cell Vol: 55 Pages: 199-213. More»
  • A Lengeling, A Mahajan, D L Gally. 2013. Bacteriophages as pathogens and immune modulators?. mBio Vol: 4. More»
  • Louise Matthews, Richard Reeve, David L Gally, Christopher Low, Mark E J Woolhouse, Sean P McAteer, Mary E Locking, Margo E Chase-Topping, Daniel T Haydon, Lesley J Allison, Mary Hanson, George J Gunn, Stuart W J Reid. 2013. Predicting the public health benefit of vaccinating cattle against Escherichia coli O157. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol: 110 Pages: 16265-16270. More»
  • Amin Tahoun, Simmi Mahajan, Edith Paxton, Georg Malterer, David S Donaldson, Dai Wang, Alwyn Tan, Trudi L Gillespie, Marie O'Shea, Andrew J Roe, Darren J Shaw, David L Gally, Andreas Lengeling, Neil A Mabbott, Juergen Haas, Arvind Mahajan. 2012. Salmonella transforms follicle-associated epithelial cells into M cells to promote intestinal invasion. Cell Host and Microbe Vol: 12 Pages: 645-56. More»